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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lofshult

They Weren't Satisfied With Doing It Once

The Trek Up the Tower is an event held in downtown Omaha every year. Hundreds of people accept the challenge of climbing the 40 story tower as fast as they can. Some do it as a personal challenge, others as a family event, and still others as a corporate outing. Each person has their own reason for doing it.

This year, one of my daughters and I accepted the challenge for the first time. We trained ahead of time, running and using the stair climber at the gym. When the day came we nervously approached the start line with a group of anxious climbers ahead of us.

As we stood in line, we noticed several people coming down the elevators and jumping the line to head up the stairs. I finally overheard others talking about what was happening.

For some people, climbing the tower once wasn't enough of a challenge. Some took the challenge further and were doing the Vertical Mile, consisting of 10 1/3 trips up the tower. And then there was the man who was attempting to set a record for the most climbs (over 20 times). At the time my daughter and I were starting, he was halfway through and was on track to finish within the four hour time limit.

Both the Vertical Mile and the record attempt sounded very impressive, but I didn't realize just how impressive until my daughter and I started the trek up the tower ourselves. We took off with confidence jogging easily up the first four floors, before hitting a wall at the fifth floor when my legs started feeling like they were on fire. As we struggled up the remaining flights to finish the trek, we discussed on several occasions just how impressive it was that some people could manage the trek multiple times.

What drives people to take on this kind of challenge; to do the work of training for the event and pushing through the pain of climbing the stairs over and over again?

While each person had their own reason, in general when people undertake this kind of challenge, it's in pursuit of a goal to see how far they can push themselves and find out how much they've improved over time. They want to see the fruits of their labor as they cross the finish line.

Is the person who crosses the finish line the same person who started training for the event in the first place, or are they a newer version of themselves, having grown through the process. To complete an event like the Vertical Mile or attempting a record number of climbs takes physical strength and endurance, but that alone isn't enough. It takes mental strength.

Along their journey, each person has to put in the work to grow in each of those areas. They might also grow through building community with others training and competing in the race. Maybe they also grow their support network within their families as they train.

Growth is the common factor required.

We each have the opportunity to grow every day. It doesn't take an endurance challenge to allow us to grow. We each get to choose our own adventures in life and each offers its own unique growth opportunities.

What is your current challenge or opportunity? What growth does it require of you to be successful?

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